O P I N I O N
by Shimon Alperovich
Authorized translation from Lithuanian by Geoff Vasil of the 26 June 2012 statement issued by Dr. Shimon Alperovich (Simonas Alperavičius), chairperson of the Jewish Community of Lithuania. Posted on the community’s website at: http://www.lzb.lt/en/home/691-recent.html. According to sources in the community, Dr. Alperovich wrote this in response to an article on Delfi.lt by Vidmantas Valiušaitis called “Why are Historians Afraid of the Facts?” (Lithuanian text here), and when Delfi allegedly declined to publish Dr. Alperovich’s response, the community placed it on its own webpage and elsewhere.
Recently there has been an increasing number of internet articles by amateur, non-professional authors without training in history expressing approval for the actions of the 1941 Provisional Government of Lithuania toward the Jews of Lithuania, without regard for the antisemitic actions of that government in the context of the mass murder of the Jews of Lithuania already underway at that time.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community earlier provided an assessment of the Lithuanian Activist Front and the Provisional Government.
It is saddening that the authors of these texts choose to ignore the conclusions of professional historians as well as the findings of the special commission established by decree of former president Valdas Adamkus and operating under the Lithuanian government, which clearly and categorically judges the actions of the LAF and PG thus:
“… The antisemitic attitudes of the Provisional Government and Lithuanian Activist Front are well documented. The fullest antisemitic statement by the Provisional Government is the legislation ‘On the Status of Jews’ of August 1, 1941. Although the cabinet approved measures for the isolation of Jews and the confiscation of Jewish property, they avoided approving of organized massacres. The Provisional Government, claiming to speak in the name of the nation and repeatedly maintaining they had moral authority, did not distance themselves publicly from the mass murder of Lithuanian citizens.”
(for the full conclusion by the commission in Lithuanian, see http://www.komisija.lt/Files/www.komisija.lt/File/2005%20m.%20posedis/Lietuvos%20zydu%20persekiojimas%20ir%20masines%20zudynes_isvados.doc)
These amateur, biased authors distorting the facts keep popping up, peddling their unprofessional pseudo-historical articles which not only fabricate historical facts but speculate on historical memory. One can only interject that the Provisional Government didn’t just fail to distance themselves from the mass murder of Jews underway, but didn’t even consider opposing it in any way or even making a symbolic protest. It is sufficient to recall that when the composition of the government was announced to the nation over the Kaunas Radiofonas radio station, already under the control of the Provisional Government, the following LAF appeal was broadcast immediately after:
“Lithuanian brothers and sisters!
The final hour of reckoning with the Jews has arrived. Lithuania must be liberated not only from the enslavement of the Asiatic Bolsheviks, but also from the prolonged yoke of Jewry. In the name of the entire Lithuanian nation, the Lithuanian Activist Front most ceremoniously declares:
1. The ancient right of sanctuary extended to the Jews by Vytautas the Great is cancelled completely and finally.
2. Every Jew of Lithuania without exception is officially warned to quit the land of Lithuania immediately and without any delay.
3. All those Jews who exceptionally distinguished themselves through betrayal of the Lithuanian state and by acts of persecution, torture or harassment of ethnic Lithuanians will be brought to justice individually and have earned the appropriate punishment. If it turns out that during the destiny-filled hour of reckoning and of the rebirth of Lithuania especially felonious Jews discover opportunities to secretly escape, it will be the duty of all upstanding Lithuanians to take their own measures in order to apprehend such Jews and, in important cases, to mete out punishment.
The new state of Lithuania will be restored through the efforts of the Lithuanian nation itself, by their labor, through their heart and by their wisdom.
Jews are eliminated from it [the nation] completely and forever. If, nonetheless, one of them dares hope to find for himself some sort of shelter in the new Lithuania, then let him know today this irrevocable decision on the Jews: in the newly reestablished Lithuania no Jew will have any civil rights nor prospects for earning a living. In this way the mistakes of the past and the treachery of the Jews will be corrected.
In this way strong foundations for the happy future and creative work of our Aryan nation will be laid. Therefore, let’s all prepare for the battle and the victory—for the freedom of the Lithuanian people, for the cleansing of the Lithuanian people, for the independent state of Lithuania and for a transparent and happy future.”
The Lithuanian Activist Front
Despite the work over many years of historians and of commissions they have formed, despite abundant materials accessible by all and published and conserved by the Center for the Study of the Genocide of Lithuanian Residents, the public is now being offered pictures of murderers of Jews suspected of being connected to the Soviet NKVD, even though the material collected by the above mentioned center clearly shows that hundreds of volunteers, police and other structures subordinate to the Provisional Government murdered the Jewish people and plundered their property. The authors of such pseudo-historical articles insult the memory of their murdered fellow Lithuanian citizens, whom the Provisional Government didn’t lift a finger to protect, as well as the memory of those noble Lithuanians who rescued Jews.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community condemns any and all attempts to distort historical truth and asks mass media outlets to demonstrate a greater moral responsibility to society and to pay closer attention to submissions received of these sorts of articles, allegedly about history, but whose goal is to portray black as white, to insult and to divide.
We hope that the memory of Lithuania’s murdered Jews and Lithuanian rescuers is dear not just to us, the Lithuanian Jewish Community, and hope their memory is important as well to the editors and authors in the Lithuanian media who write about the topic.